[Edit: Hi! This page gets a lot of traffic, so we thought we'd make sure you knew about the rest of our journal and our other veggie-related posts. We update regularly during the growing season and hope you'll check back in. Thanks for stopping by! Mosaic]
Our ornamental garden gets most of the questions on garden tours, but our take on tomato cages always catches the attention of dedicated veggie gardeners. These cages allow us to support a whole row of vigorous tomatoes at once and collapse into flat panels when not in use. Best of all, they are as sturdy, straight and good looking as the first time we used them six years ago!
To make Mosaic's tomato cages, you'll need:
- two strong galvanized welded wire panels (bull wire or some tough hog wire from the farm supply store is a great choice)
- strong wire cutters or a grinder
- 4 pieces of rebar (concrete reinforcing bar), with at least two pieces approx 5-6' long (depends on how deep you can drive them into your soil)
First, cut your bull wire panels to size with the wire cutters or grinder. Our panels are the length of our veggie rows and about 4' high. We cut at least the bottom wire off the panels, so that the bottom vertical pieces form lots of little "stakes" to help secure the panels. We make sure that the ends of the panels are trimmed off, so no one can get caught or scraped.
Next, stick the panels in on either side of your tomatoes at an angle and then drive rebar into the soil, outside of the panels. Make sure the rebar is firmly in place, because it is the primary support for your structure and will hold everything together under high winds and heavy tomato loads. Tie the rebar securely to the panels with the twine.
Finally, string twine in a zig-zag pattern through the middle and top of the wire panels. These layers will help support the plants and fruit as they grow up through the cages.
At the end of the year, the cages are quick and easy to disassemble and store. We use a smaller version of these cages for peppers and eggplants and single panels of the same wire for climbing plants like peas and cucumbers.